A prospectus, strictly speaking, is a document that provides details about an investment being offered for sale to the public. Anyone reading today’s Prospectus section of The Buffalo News who was thinking about investing in this city would find a lot to like in 21st century Buffalo.
What they would find – in Prospectus and on the streets – is a city whose outlook has radically changed from one of glum acceptance to one anticipating better days that have already begun to arrive.
For much of that change, Buffalo has two elected officials to thank: Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who have made it their mission to reignite the Western New York economy. Together, they have leveraged their political clout to change the direction of a remarkable but troubled city.
The evidence is all around. Canalside is booming with construction, and more is on the books. The HarborCenter development, alone, is expected to draw thousands of visitors a year once its two ice rinks and hotel are completed.
The outer harbor is on the verge of development and Ohio Street will soon be transformed from a barren, pitted pathway to a tree-lined parkway. Along the Buffalo River, planned developments include the RiverBend high-tech manufacturing hub and a sprawling entertainment complex.
At the north end of downtown, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is developing into a high-tech medical universe. Children’s Hospital and UB’s medical school are moving there. The Conventus project is approved. In the planning stages are the Buffalo Medical Innovation and Commercialization Hub and Cuomo’s latest economic salvo, the genomic medical research center.
Other projects are in the pipeline, including the Buffalo Niagara Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Competitiveness, a workforce training and development center and more.
Farther north, Niagara Falls is benefiting from the attentions of Cuomo and Higgins. There, a section of the misbegotten Robert Moses Parkway will be removed, reconnecting the city to its waterway birthright. The Rainbow Centre Mall is to be transformed into a mixed-use complex and the state is creating a $40 million fund to support public investment and incentives for development.
What else? Larkinville continues to astound and expand, creating a new center of activity in the city. Other developments are planned or under way linking the waterfront and downtown to Larkinville.
All this in a city and region that hardly four years ago was expecting nothing more than a repeat of the previous gloomy half-century of decline. And that, perhaps, is the best of what has occurred here over the past couple of years. It’s not just that things are looking up, but that the region’s expectations have risen. People now believe that things can improve, and that notion, properly nourished, can only lead to more opportunities.
The new, yet still realistic, outlook on Buffalo’s assets and prospects was beautifully captured in a 12-minute video called “Buffalo, America’s Best Designed City (www.bestdesignedcity.com). It’s worth watching to see what Buffalo is becoming and what it has yet to do.
And, yes, there are still challenges, and some of the planned projects could run into obstacles. That’s normal. The point is that things are happening. An economic engine that was all but dormant is starting to hum, and that makes for an attractive investment.